Could Zinc supplements help with cold and flu symptoms? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Could Zinc supplements help with cold and flu symptoms?

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NBC RIGHT NOW - It's no secret that cold and flu season is here in full force. To some, taking a Zinc supplement to keep from getting sick or boosting their immune system may seem like a no brainer, but is it really the answer?

Pharmacist Chris Smith says, "Taking zinc everyday as a supplement probably isn't the best approach for reducing the frequency of colds. The evidence for using It to profulac or prevent colds is not very strong."

Although he doesn't suggest using it daily for prevention, Chris does say taking it when symptoms start could be beneficial.

"Zinc has some evidence of shortening cold symptoms if It is taken within the first 48 hours of cold symptoms.  It can shorten the duration of the cold symptoms for maybe one or two days," says Smith, "and the common cold is typically 10 days for most people."

It can come in a pill that you swallow immediately, but that's normally used for Zinc deficiencies, but those used for colds are normally lozenges or liquids. However, pharmacists say Zinc supplements are normally for people with deficiencies, and you should see your doctor before taking them.